>And so it begins…  

With the Cardinals leading 4-2 going into the ninth inning, Freddy Sanchez doubles.  A strikeout and a groundout later, Sanchez is standing on third with two outs, and that’s when it got interesting.  Adam LaRoche hit a sharp single to right, scoring Sanchez.  Hinske hits for Adam’s brother, Andy, bringing LaRoche to third and standing on second.  Motte hits the #7 hitter to load the bases bringing up Jack Wilson.  Wilson promptly gets down 0-2 and it looks like the Cards are going to get out of it… until he rockets one into left center, clearing the bases.  All I can think is, here we go again.  Going into the bottom of the 9th, it’s Pittsburgh 6, St. Louis 4.
It looks promising for the Cards in the 9th, with Ankiel, Pujols, Greene and Ludwick scheduled to hit.  Ankiel gets the count full and grounds out to second.  Pujols gets his third hit of the day with a grounder to left bringing up the Cards biggest offseason acquisition, Khalil Greene.  Greene manages a fly ball to center field for out #2.  The last hope is the breakout player from last season, who has already homered to break a 2-2 tie in the 8th, Ryan Ludwick.  Ludwick goes down swinging to end the game.  Final score – Pittsburgh 6, St. Louis 4.  Not a good way to start the season.
I’m not going all “doom-and-gloom” here, but it is frustrating to see them give away a game to begin the season.  Kudos to the Pirates for coming through in the clutch, but it shouldn’t have happened.  I’m not ready to push the panic button on the bullpen because, quite frankly, they were fantastic until Motte needed that last out.  Prior to the 2-out, 9th inning implosion, the bullpen had pitched 3 1/3 innings, allowing only 4 hits while striking out 4 and not allowing a run.
It’s a tough first game, but the season isn’t defined in just one game – that’s the joy of baseball.
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